My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!



Fear not, I come bearing only treats ~ some Halloweenie pictures and music to share with you! :-)


Here's a closeup of Willow's "costume." I tried to get photos of Tess and Josie in their Halloween bandanas, but they were being temperamental divas and wouldn't cooperate enough for a good photo, so Willow gets to be a solo act again...


I took this photo last year, but never got a chance to post it. I went back to this house on Saturday to get a fresh photo (and under cloud cover, which I thought would look better), but there wasn't a ghost to be found in this weeping birch's branches this year! So I'm glad I still had this pic...


This is our newest decoration, purchased on sale a few days ago with proceeds from a gift card from our realtor. :-) I'd had my eye on it all month, so was tickled to be able to get it. It looks scary-cute on our front sunporch...


BW and I went for our longest bike ride yet yesterday afternoon, and that's when I got these next three photos. I loved this elaborate "graveyard" and am dying (harhar) to see it at night, because I could tell that the graves, dead trees and cauldrons all light up and am wondering what clever special effects they may have as well...

Note the ghosts hanging from the shepherd's hook on the right,
and pasture of haybales providing a nice seasonal backdrop!


Though not Halloween-specific, I loved this lazy scarecrow. He looks like he's either related to Mr. Potato Head or is fresh from a bank robbery with the pantyhose still pulled over his face! :-)


You know I love gargoyles (this is at least the third one I've featured on this blog), and this dragon gargoyle, part of a mirror-image pair on the front stoop of a pretty Victorian around the corner from us, is one of my favorites!


We have no idea if we'll have any trick-or-treaters tonight, but we're ready with fun stickers and Panda licorice bars, and will have all our candles lit and, as is our Samhain tradition, All Souls Night by Loreena McKennitt (from her album The Visit) belting out from our speakers...


How are you spending this Halloween?

I'm also busy getting ready for a little road trip. Willow and I are driving up to Havre, MT on Wednesday for three days to visit my mom, whose birthday is tomorrow (my grandmother liked to tell people that my mom nearly came in on a broomstick. LOL) But I'll resume posting soon - I'm working on the quilt show photos as I have time, and hope to have my first post (it'll be a multi-parter) ready by next Wednesday, when ABC Wednesday will be starring the letter "Q!" Perfect. :-)

Until then...


Have a safe and happy one!

Friday, October 28, 2011

SkyWatch Friday: Scenes of Autumn


This post is particularly photo-intensive, as I've gathered a bunch of Autumn scenes shot on four recent walkabouts in our neighborhood. This is my favorite time of year, and with all the exploring and new things to see after moving to town last month, I've gone completely camera-crazy. (Okay. Craz
ier). :-)
Not all of the photos feature sky, but most do. Despite this being a SkyWatch post, I just couldn't bear to leave any of them out, sky or no sky!

If you'd like some music to accompany you on your stroll through these Autumnal scenes, here's "Colors/Dance" from George Winston's album "Autumn." (George, a favorite of mine since college, is practically a local boy from up the road in Miles City, MT. He plays a concert here nearly every year, and this time I plan to finally go!)



These gorgeous maples live on a street just around the corner from our new house. I love the lighting in this first one, and the girl walking home from school through the carpet of fallen leaves...


But I also love this perspective of the same spot, with the trees all the way down the street forming a sheltering canopy over the sidewalk. I also like the deserted feel of this photo, since Autumn has such a strong sense of solitude to it for me. I couldn't decide which photo to post, so I'm posting both. Which do you like best?


Those maple leaves are definitely ready for their closeups...




I didn't get close enough to identify what species of tree this is, but it's sure a beauty. I had to climb a long, very steep hill to get to another neighborhood for this photo, but it was worth every panting step...


This apple tree was just behind a bent-willow fence in the front yard of a very hidden little house. I was tempted to snatch one of these enticing ripe apples, but made do with stealing a photo, since it also enabled me to capture that gorgeous sapphire sky...


These next two are of an especially beautiful (Japanese?) Maple in someone's side yard...



As I was shooting those two photos, I happened to look down and find a little veggie patch growing along the fence beneath the trees! Sweet! So I grabbed these photos of a winter squash and little red peppers sporting lovely Fall colors of their own...



Poplar leaves against another perfect, cobalt blue sky...


(This one's a bit blurry, but I love it anyway!)

I saw this Burning Bush as I was driving home one day, and came back with both Willow and my camera on foot to get photos of it. On the way, we met an elderly lady walking her dog and stopped to chat about the beautiful day and the beautiful Fall colors, so I mentioned I was on my way to photograph a burning bush a block or two away. She thought I meant someone's shrubbery was literally ablaze and grew quite alarmed till I assured her that although it is ablaze, it's with lavish color instead of flames! :-) ...


Had to take a closeup, of course. :-)

Although the least colorful of the bunch, this next photo is my favorite. I took it late yesterday afternoon in the park right across from our house. There were squirrels all over the park busily eating and gathering their stores for winter, but I was especially smitten with this inquisitive, photogenic fellow, who had to come check me out while I was photographing his lady friend...

so maybe there's something to this rally squirrel thing! :-)

I'll end this post by sharing my late grandmother's favorite poem, October's Party, and wishing you a great weekend! And don't forget, for more skies (with or without squirrels), visit...


October's Party
by George Cooper

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand;
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind, the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple,
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played;
The party closed at sundown
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ABC Wednesday: O for Orange



Oh Okay, maybe O for Orange right before the big October holiday isn't too Original. Oh, well - in my Optimistic Opinion, Odds are you won't Object to Observing One more little festive Orgy of Orange...


I found this antique orange bottle, decorated with a glittery spider's web and little puffball spider, at a recent gathering of local artisans called "Born in a Barn" at the farm home of one of the artists a few miles outside of town. It featured various crafts, antiques and "re-purposed" vintage items for sale, all set up in the barn stalls, grain silo and other outbuildings on the old farmstead. I found this treasure as soon as I arrived, put it in our dining room window where it catches the afternoon sunshine, and filled it with a late blooming flowers from the wildflower garden



Most of the trees in my neck of the woods (haha) turn either gold or scarlet in Autumn, so I had trouble finding an orange one. This tree's gorgeous leaves are actually both gold and scarlet (as you'll see in some closeups in a future post), but the overall effect is an orange-colored tree. How opportune! :-)


Our bewitching Willow shows off her chic fashion statement for Halloween (along with her outstanding pumpkin)...





OoooOOOOOoooo....
Ogle more October Os at...


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wildflower Garden


Before I post photos of Dragonfly Cottage's interior, local explorations or this year's quilt show, I wanted to share some closeups I've been taking of the flowers in the wildflower garden right in front of our cottage. Although it's one of the common areas for this new Pocket Neighborhood, it stands in for our front yard. Because Dragonfly Cottage has no front yard - just some mostly nekkid (so far) flowerbeds on either side of the front porch. Because of its very close proximity to our front steps (about 18 inches), and the fact that watering it became my responsibility when we moved in, I feel a stronger sense of possessiveness toward it than I probably should. (But when passers-by often call out, "I love your wildflower garden!" I can't help replying with a proprietary "Thank you!") :-)


I'm still getting to know a few of the late summer/fall flowers in it, though there are several familiar faces (like wild sunflowers and Gaillardia) to make me feel right at home. Here are a few of my favorite blooms so far, many of which are still going strong despite Halloween being only a week away!


You'd think, from all the photos I've taken of them, that most of the flowers in the Wildflower Garden are poppies. But they really represent a small minority - they've just been the most dazzling and my favorites! Check these beauties out in all their diversely-colored glory...






Most of the flowers at this time of year are yellow ones. I don't know this one's name yet, but love its cheerful face...


Sweet little Bachelor Buttons...


A neon fuschia-colored charmer (anyone know what it is?)...


Another cheerful yellow flower I haven't been able to identify. A member of the sunflower or daisy family, perhaps?...


Although it's not in the Wildflower Garden, since no cottage is complete without at least one Hollyhock growing beside it I had to include this photo of ours. :-) I'm glad I got this photo when I did, because we had a hard frost that night that pretty much obliterated the blooms...


I'll be sharing more flowery eye-candy photos soon, from my neighborhood walks and bike rides as well as from some of the stunning floral quilts in this year's exhibition. What fun! :-)

In unrelated news ~ Though I don't really follow baseball, I do try to watch the World Series. Though generally a Red Sox and Rockies fan with no personal connection to St. Louis or Missouri, I'm enthusiastically cheering on the Cardinals because of their manager Tony LaRussa and his lovely wife Elaine. Click here to read why! And Go, Cardinals! :-)

(I can't see Cardinals - the birds or the sports teams - without thinking of you, Spudly!) ;-)

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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
  • MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
  • MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
  • ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
  • QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
  • THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
  • THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
  • THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
  • THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"